Shock: Harry Reid has an FEC Problem

Is this the face of a man who would knowingly skirt campaign finance laws to enrich family members? (via Instagram)

Is this the face of a man who would knowingly skirt campaign finance laws to enrich family members? (via Instagram)

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has some questions for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) concerning his campaign’s purchase of more than $16,000 in “holiday gifts” for donors. It turns out that the gifts were purchased from a jewelry vendor in Berkeley, Calif., who just happens to be Reid’s granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, although her full name was not listed on Reid’s campaign filing with the FEC. Jon Ralston reports:

The gifts, I have learned, were purchased from his granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, who is a jewelry vendor in Berkeley, CA. The gifts were later passed on to donors and supporters, a Reid spokeswoman told me.

Reid has previously been asked to explain holiday gifts to his Ritz Carlton doorman by the FEC. But in the letter from the FEC sent last week, the agency wants to know what payments of  $11,370 and $5,416 (UPDATED) were. “Itemized disbursements must include a brief statement or description of why each disbursement was made,” the letter said.

Reid’s granddaughter is listed only as “Ryan Elisabeth” on the FEC report, which is attached here (see page 166). But her full name is Ryan Elisabeth Reid. …

The FEC wants an answer by April 25. But even if that agency does its usual dithering and wrist-slapping, many will wonder why Reid needs to use campaign funds for holiday gifts to give to supporters and donors and why he enriched his granddaughter in so doing.

In other news, Reid is even less popular than Charles and David Koch, the libertarian philanthropists Reid has described as “un-American.”

UPDATE: In a statement, Reid said he will reimburse his campaign for price of the gifts: “I thought it would be nice to give supporters and staff thank-you gifts that had a personal connection and a Searchlight connection, but I have decided to reimburse the campaign for the amount of the expenditure.”